• Kyodo News

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Japan coach Ivica Osim has been forced to drop influential defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Hiroki Mizumoto from Japan’s squad for the upcoming Asian Cup because of injuries. “Neither of them has any chance of playing at the Asian Cup. I want them to recover from their injuries and come back and challenge again,” Osim told reporters after Wednesday’s training session. Tanaka hurt his left knee in the first half of Urawa Reds’ 1-0 win at Shimizu S-Pulse in the J. League last weekend and revealed on Monday that he would need three to four weeks to make a complete recovery. However, the 2006 J. League Player of the Year refused to give up hope and said he would work “to make miracles happen” to be fit in time for Japan’s Group B opener against Qatar in Hanoi on July 9.

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